Okay, so it’s coming up on 9 years since my divorce. And I’d love to tell you that I’m madly in love and in partnership with the next long-term relationship of my life. Well, that’s not exactly the story…
On the positive side: I have had FOUR relationships that have helped me learn more about myself and more of what I’m after. (Without a clear roadmap, we’re likely to end up in the swamp again.) And all through the process, I’m learning how, as a single dad, I bring some different skills/passions to the equation. Here’s what I think single dads can offer.
CHILDREN: Single dads understand your children take priority. My kids are older now (18 and 16) so they are less of a daily management project and more of a coach, counselor, support system. In talking to and dating younger women, with younger children, I’ve had to ask myself, “Do I really want to get involved with a woman who has young kids? Can I be a dad again?” The answer is yes. As a dad, I understand the man’s side of what your son is going through. I can provide some warm masculine energy to your kids. And in this equation, it’s all by choice. I want to provide a healthy role model for your children.
MAKING YOU A PRIORITY: Single dads will make plans to be with you. We’re not afraid to ask, “So what’s your next weekend look like?” Especially when you have younger kids, perhaps on the alternating weekend schedule with their dad, I’m going to ask for some US time. You’re busy just being a mom, we’ve got a little more bandwidth, we can do some of the logistical planning for our next date. If it happens only every other weekend for a while, that’s okay. It will make our weekend so much more special.
LISTENING: Single dads can hear your side of the story and not defend your ex. And in some cases, I can provide some balance to your perspective. You might what to hear what a man is thinking about in certain circumstances. I’m open with my feelings and not afraid to share. And on the flipside, I’m healed enough not to offer advice unless you ask for it. For the most part, my role is as a cheerleader and sherpa for you as navigate your co-parenting relationship.
PATIENCE: Single dads don’t need to rush things. We can add the kids to our equation when things are rock solid and settled between us. There’s no need to confuse their minds any further, while they’re still getting used to not having daddy around. I’m happy to stay within clear boundaries. Adding me to the kids and the kids to me will be a celebration. Let’s make sure we’re moving towards something more permanent before including them in our activities.
SENSUAL: Single dads can be patient and attentive lovers. As my divorce was happening I couldn’t ever imagine making love to another woman. Over time, my human needs, however, proved that to be a fallacy. And I am grateful to the women I have met along the path to my divorce recovery who have taught me a number of things about sex. Patience. Openness. Honesty. Connection. Those things are much more important than orgasm, kinkiness, or frequency. If there is joy in sex, the sex will be magical. If there is no joy in your sex, perhaps there is more to get clear about in the relationship. What’s holding us back?
CLEAR INTENTIONS: The clearer I get in what I want in my next healthy relationship the clearer I will be when I’m making my commitment to you. I’m not one to bolt after things get serious. I’m looking for serious. But I’m also not willing to stick around when things are unhealthy. So as I get clearer about what I’m looking for, I am better able to navigate the sea of opportunities to find YOU. The fit. And I’m no longer willing to settle for “nearly.” I’m looking for both of us to have a huge hit of YES. It might take a while to solidify the relationship, but that is my goal. A solid relationship.
Dads understand parenting. Dads understand moms. Dads who are working at being good men are also looking to build a relationship on trust, vulnerability, and openness. As a dad who’s been seeking my next relationship for over eight years, I’m happy to say, I am still learning, and still happy waiting for what’s good and courageous, rather than just what feels good at the moment.
What do dad’s bring to a relationship? A lot. And the longer I continue my adventure, the more I hope to evolve into an even better partner.
Get the complete single dad story with John’s new book: Single Dad Seeks (available in all formats)
The Dating a Divorced Dad series continues:
- What the Single Dad Wants – 9 Months Later (an update)
- The Three Essential Elements of Love
- In Relationship with a Divorced Dad: Ground Rules
SingleDad In Love, Again